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SALT LAKE CITY — With formula flying off the shelves, a nationwide shortage has parents worried. They're struggling to find certain formulas.
But there is a potential solution. Breast milk is easily digested and generally more tolerated by babies, which has led to an increased demand for it at the Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank.
Hospitals have doubled and almost tripled their need for milk donations from the milk bank. The organization says it saw a drop in donors this past winter, and now it is seeing more during the formula crisis, but they need more.
According to Jenny Noren, director of operations at Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank, breast milk frozen after four days of pumping lasts for up to a year.
There is a very thorough treatment process the milk bank does to make sure the milk is safe and good for the babies, and then a lot of preparation goes into getting breast milk donations ready for delivery.
"We are extremely careful about how we treat it," Noren said.
Mountain West Mothers' Milk Bank made its first delivery in January of 2020, but then a pandemic hit.
Noren says donations stalled during the start of the pandemic and then again this winter, but with the recent formula shortage, the demand is at an all-time high.
"It has been very much a wild ride," Noren said. "We are seeing hospital orders double and triple."
The milk bank serves the whole state and has 20 different drop-off sites. It's asking for donors to help it feed these babies in need. It's actually easier for babies to digest and tolerate than formula.
"We average about 200 to 250 donors simultaneously bringing us in milk. In order to meet the demand that we're facing from our hospitals right now, we could easily handle twice that."
If you need milk or want to donate, the milk bank has Spanish and English resources on its website.